Black Bear Hunting photo

On Sept. 9, 2013, Minnesota resident and former bear-hunting guide Shawn O’ Connor tagged a 642-pound black bear–one that could become the new state record–while hunting the east side of the state’s famous Mille Lacs Lake.

In this article from the Mille Lacs Messenger, O’Conner says he may have seen the bear the day before when he and his daughter checked his bait site, and hoped it would return. The following afternoon he sat in his tree stand for three hours before the bear showed up.

“When I looked back up I saw his head sticking out of the brush by the bait,” he said. “It was windy, and I never even heard him coming.”

O’Conner gave up his bear-outfitting business a few years ago to dedicate his time to family and work, but not before he saw his share of big bears, and initially underestimated this one at 400 to 425 pounds. In reality, it weighed 12 pounds more than the current Minnesota bear record.

However, bear records are judged by skull size, and O’Conner has to wait for a mandatory drying period before the skull can be officially scored and compared against the current record.